What Is the Best Essential Oil for Headaches?

Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2021
essential oils for headaches
Using essential oils to help relieve pain from headaches depends on the type, such as peppermint and lavender oil is best for migraine relief.

In recent times, complementary therapy has gained momentum along with therapeutic medications because painkillers have adverse effects on the kidneys, liver, and other organs.

Several practitioners use essential oils or aromatherapy to treat different ailments, which help reduce stress and improve circulation.

Essential oils can effectively help relieve pain from many different types of headaches. For example, lavender essential oil seems to be the best treatment for migraine headaches.

Best essential oils for treating headaches

Table. The best essential oils for treating headaches
Essential oils Types of headaches Other uses
  • Headaches caused by sinus issues
  • Tension headaches
Treats skin problems, wounds, cuts, burns, herpes, and insect bites
  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine attacks
Relieve spasms and arthritic problem
  • Headaches caused by a withdrawal syndrome
  • Headaches caused by insomnia
  • Relieves indigestion and constipation
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Relieves rheumatic pain
  • Short-term management of migraine attacks
  • Headaches caused by anxiety
  • Treats abrasion and burns
  • Relieves stress and skin problems
  • Tension headaches
  • Anxiety and insomnia triggered headaches
Treats inflammation, muscle spasms, and menstrual disorders
  • Debilitating cluster headaches
Act as an antidepressant

How can you use essential oils to treat headaches?

Here are some ways you can use essential oils to treat headaches:

  • Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut, jojoba, or olive oil, and apply it over your temples and across the forehead.
  • Pour a few drops of oil into the tissue and hold it under your nose to inhale the vapors.
  • Soak a towel in cold water with a few drops of essential oils and place the compress on the forehead and neck
  • Add a few drops of essential oils to a hot bath

6 most effective ways of using essential oils

  1. Peppermint oil: Mix with a carrier oil and apply it to the temples.
  2. Rosemary oil: You can apply the diluted oil to the affected parts or add it to your hot bath.
  3. Lavender oil: Inhale the vapors of lavender oil with the help of an oil diffuser.
  4. Chamomile oil: Add a few drops of the oil to a bath or hot water to inhale the fumes.
  5. Eucalyptus oil: You can either inhale the vapors or dilute the oil and apply them to the chest.
  6. Frankincense oil: Soak fingertips into the diluted oil and massage your scalp, back of the neck, temples, and forehead for a few minutes.

Who should avoid using essential oils to treat headaches?

You must remember that essential oils are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Hence, the safety profile of essential oils is neither studied in detail nor is the purity guaranteed. The product could be contaminated with other oils or diluents, which may cause skin allergies or even allergic rhinitis.

The following populations should avoid using essential oil to treat headaches:

What are the safety tips to be followed while using essential oils?

It is crucial to follow a few safety tips before using essential oils to treat headaches, such as:

  • Do not apply undiluted essential oils to the skin.
  • Disperse essential oils in an appropriate base before adding them to a bath. Because oils do not mix with water and tend to float on the surface, these droplets can attach to the sensitive areas of the skin, causing irritation and itching.
  • Avoid oral ingestion of essential oils.
  • Avoid inhaling essential oils for more than 20 minutes.
  • People with asthma should avoid inhaling essential oils to prevent asthma attacks.
  • Keep the oils out of reach of children.
  • Conduct a patch test on a small area 48 hours before applying it to a large area.


16 Surprising Headache Triggers and Tips for Pain Relief See Slideshow
Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2021
Image Source: iStock Images

Ali B, Al-Wabel NA, Shams S, Ahamad A, Khan SA, Anwar F. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2015; 5(8); 601-611. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033#bib61

Rafie S, Namjoyan F, Golfakhrabadi F, Yousefbeyk F, Hassanzadeh A. Effect of lavender essential oil as a prophylactic therapy for migraine: A randomized controlled clinical trial. J Herb Med. 2016; 6(1): 18-23. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2210803316300033

Tisserand Institute. How to Use Essential Oils Safely. https://tisserandinstitute.org/safety-guidelines/

National Institutes of Health. Peppermint Oil. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermint-oil